BCCI asks ICC Cricket Committee to re-open discussion on soft signals

Non-neutral umpires will continue to officiate in international cricket, with the ICC deciding to extend the Covid-19 regulations it put in place last year till July 2021. That is one of the key recommendations of the ICC Cricket Committee, which has been approved by the global body’s chief executives’ committee (CEC) and is set to be ratified by the ICC Board when it convenes virtually later this week on March 31 and April 1.

The ICC Cricket Committee, which is chaired by the former India captain Anil Kumble, had met earlier in March and approved a hybrid model of match officials where feasible; that would allow for one neutral umpire and three home umpires in a bilateral series. But this model would be restricted to countries where the neutral officials can travel without having to quarantine.

The CEC, which met virtually last week, approved the recommendation and has sent it to the ICC Board to get a final approval. As it stands, the World Test Championship final – scheduled from June 18-22 in Southampton between India and New Zealand – would be officiated by a team of neutral match officials, all English. Chris Broad is likely to be the match referee, with Richard Kettleborough, Michael Gough and Richard Illingworth – the three English umpires on the 12-man elite panel – to form the umpires’ line-up for the match.

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